Fracking Linked to Contaminated Water in Pennsylvania
According to a recent study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, drilling sites may be contaminating some nearby drinking water wells in the Northeast. A research team from Duke University analyzed 141 drinking water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania and detected methane in 82% of drinking water samples. Average concentrations of methane were six times higher for nearby homes with gas wells. Similar to the results for methane, concentrations of ethane and propane were also higher in drinking water of homes near natural gas wells. These results led researchers to conclude that some homeowners living near leaking fracking sites have drinking water contaminated with stray gases.
Hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking”, is a process which involves injecting water, sand, and chemicals into the hard shale rock under high pressure in order to break it up and extract the gas trapped within. This unconventional source of gas has transformed energy supplies in the United States. However, according to the New York Times, it has also spurred growing health and environmental concerns. According to a Bloomberg report, the fracking companies responsible for contaminated water often require confidentiality from injured residents confidentiality from injured residents as part of their settlement agreements – a strategy that keeps data hidden from policymakers, health experts, and the media.
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